Seema Biswas was born on 14 January 1965 in Nalbari, Assam. She shot into the limelight with her stunning performance in Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen (1994) as Phoolan Devi.
Seema Biswas studied Political Science at Nalbari College, and later joined the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi. After graduating from NSD in 1984, she joined the NSD Repertory Company.
Seema's mother, a history teacher, was active in organizing female theatre artistes in Assam. It was through this group that Seema Biswas got to meet many artistes like Bhupen Hazarika, Phani Sarma and Bishnuprasad Rabha.
Seema Biswas won the 1996 National Film Award for Best Actress for her role in the film Bandit Queen and also won the Filmfare Best Debut Award. In 1996 she also won the Star Screen Best Supporting Actress Award for Khamoshi – The Musical. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2000, the Best Actress Genie Award for her role as Shakuntala in Deepa Mehta's Water in 2006, and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Midnight’s Children in 2013.